According to James Mirtle of The Athletic, there’s some buzz that the Tampa Bay Lightning might be in the market now that they’ve cleared some cap room with a trade on Sunday. After moving defenceman Braydon Coburn, forward Cedric Paquette and a second-round draft pick in 2022 to Ottawa, the Lightning have a little room to play again.
It’s funny how quickly things can shift. Just a few hours ago, the Lightning were in salary cap hell. Now, they’re potentially looking to dip their toes back into the NHL free agency market. Considering how competitive a team they are, that a few names are still looking for work, and the tax-free status that comes with playing in Tampa, the team is sure to find a couple of interested players.
Mirtle writes: “Wonder if Tampa tries to add a solid free agent now that they have a little room… depth defenceman maybe?” He goes on to say that taxi squad means the Lightning could add a couple of depth players.
Who Would the Lightning Add?
First thoughts after a post like this is that general manager Julien BriseBois might be eyeing someone like Sami Vatanen on a one-year cheap deal. He’s yet to find a role on an NHL team and was a key blue line free agent insiders were keeping a lookout for. The same could be said for a player like Travis Hamonic — although he’s more likely to stay in Western Canada.
Vatanen could be the Lightning’s next Kevin Shattenkirk. If he joins the team and has a huge year, he could make himself much more valuable on the open market next offseason.
The moves makes a lot of sense and there’s some real belief the Lightning could try to make a play here.
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